DEVELOPING A MASS MAILING CAMPAIGN
By: Robert C. Screen
One major objective of a growth-oriented church should be that all residents in its ministry area are aware of the church, its desire to help and serve them, and aware of the potential contribution the church can make in their lives.
There are two basic strategies that can be used to achieve this objective. The first, and most important, involves the active training and use of lay members in building relationships with their friends and neighbors. Leadership of the church should constantly be asking whether the people, programs, and facilities of the church are responding to the needs of the people in its community.
A second strategy to reach the above objective involves the use of mass media.
Here are some basic questions that should be discussed as a staff and as a church before launching an aggressive mass media program in your ministry area:
* How do we want the community to perceive our church?
* Have we developed an accurate assessment of the needs, attitudes, and concerns of the people we are trying to reach?
* Do we sincerely desire to serve the needs of these people?
* Are we willing and able to develop or expand our programs around the needs and interests of the people?
* Is our commitment, as a church, clearly understood and supported by the congregation?
All of these questions deserve careful consideration. Your answers will serve as a valuable guideline in determining not only what you say through the mass media, but also how you say it.
Mass media you can use to say these things usually includes direct mail, newspapers, radio, and television. Here are some specific suggestions on direct mail. We’ll discuss other media in future columns…
Direct mail is one of the most cost-effective mass media tools available to your church. I suggest sending a mailing to every home in your ministry area at least four times each year. Churches with a smaller budget should mail at least once or twice a year.
An annual mailing schedule might look like this:
Early Spring: A mailing sent to arrive a week or so before Easter, highlighting the Easter season.
Early June: A letter highlighting summer interests and activities available to the people.
Early September: A mailing outlining back-to-school activities, new classes, and special programs.
Early December: A special holiday mailing describing holiday activities in the church.
Of course, special church programs throughout the year, especially those designed for non-Christians, are another good reason for a mailing. The focus should be on how your church wants to serve those receiving the mailing piece. Propositional language (“the wages of sin is death”) and a “preachy” tone should never be used.
Nor should the emphasis of the mailing be on the church, its staff, its building, etc. Each person-their family, their special problems, their environment-is the most important thing in their life. The emphasis is on them, not you.
The mailing illustration shown here, from Moody Church in Chicago, is an example of the basic elements of a good direct mail letter. Notice how the letter also illustrates the warmth and tone that is an important
Each mailing should highlight one particular way the church desires to serve, or one particular activity that would be of general interest to people in the community. And it should give the reader an opportunity to
respond. Above all, those who receive the mailing should feel that the church sincerely desires to do something for them. You might consider inviting responses in some of the following areas:
1. “Yes, I would like more information, about the program you described in your mailing.”
2. “Yes, I would like to participate in the program you described.”
3. “I’d like to know more about special activities for youth, college, high school, singles, families, senior citizens.”
4. “I have a special concern I’d like to talk to a pastor about. Please call about setting up an appointment.”
5. “Please place my name and address on your mailing list to receive your weekly bulletin and other mailings.”
If you’re mailing a letter, enclose a card with the response information on one side and the church mailing address on the other so all the person needs to do is his or her name, address and phone number, apply a stamp, and drop the card in the mail. A card that folds once to allow the sender’s name to remain confident will be appreciated by many.
Make sure that you reply to responses within the week. Keep track of the number of responses you receive so you can compare the effectiveness of various approaches.
Envelope: Hand addressed, precanceled bulk rate stamp, with the return address on the back flap, gives a very personal look. Addresses and names were taken from a reverse telephone directory, available from the telephone company. Check with your local post office for precanceled stamps. If they are ot available, use a postage meter to avoid the impersonal impression of a bulk mailing indicia.
Reply Card: Postage paid so no stamp is necessary. Response addressed to an individual. Content relates directly to the content of the letter. Card can be folded.
Senior Minister/Moody Memorial Church
If you are like most of us you probably don’t mind making a new friend once in a while. Those of us who are neighbors in this area get pretty shut away from each other. Maybe you like it that way. But sometimes you may feel like sending out a test signal to see if anyone would even notice! I know I get that way occasionally.
Life is pretty much a sending out and receiving of signals, I guess. And when there isn’t anybody around to listen–nobody “to tell it to”–a funny thing happens.
Maybe you know the “ghosts” that haunt your mind when it seems like nobody cares. Maybe you wrestle with anxieties–about your health, about your job, about your family, or some special friend. Maybe you wish there was somebody around to laugh with you, or to cry with you.
You’ll have to overlook this kind of introduction by mail. What I would really like is to come and sit down in your living room. I’m just an ordinary man who happens to be the pastor over at the big, round brick
church south of Lincoln Park. Don’t let that scare you. I’m not asking you to join anything. I just thought you might like to know that I am here, and that I am available.
If you would like to make a new friend, here is one neighbor who would like to, too! You can let me know just by sending back the card I have enclosed. I’ll be glad to stop by at your convenience.
SAMPLE REPLY CARD:
Dear Pastor Sweeting:
I appreciate your writing to me and I am interested in knowing more of your ministry and the activities of Moody Church.
I would like to respond by asking for the following information.
_____ I would like to make an appointment to see you.
_____ Weekly bulletin and schedule of activities.
_____ Please keep me posted on special events at Moody Church.
(The original publisher of the above material is unknown.)
Christian Information Network